Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Swarthmore has seen a 10% increase on Fall Early Decision applications this year. “Last year we had 273 applications – an all time record. This year we’ve had 302,” said Jim Bock ’90, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, with a big smile.
But when the College sent acceptance letters to the Class of 2012 this past Tuesday, there were only a few more than in previous years, meaning Swarthmore is poised to be more competitive than ever before.
As in previous years, Bock aims to admit 40-42% of the class through Early Decision.
“Demographic trends suggest Winter Early Decision and Regular Decision might be bigger as well,” he revealed. The number of prospective students has also reached a record high—the school has nearly 36,000 names in its database. 10-13% of prospective students usually apply.
It is hard to guess the exact number of applications with any accuracy. First contact applications, in which Swarthmore was never contacted by the student before receiving the application, are on the rise. Bock postulates this is because of the internet—interested students can easily gather huge amounts of information about schools without ever talking to the Admissions Office.
Bock doesn’t want to make guarantees about the total number of students that will apply this year. “We could be down,” he said, knocking on a wooden table. “I don’t want to jinx anything.” Still, there is reason to be optimistic.
Final numbers will have to wait until the very last day Early Decision applications are due. Increasingly, students are applying online (83% did last year), and these applications can come in at quite literally the very last minute. Still, Swarthmore seems poised for a record breaking year.